ENTERPRISE STAFF REPORT
(MARTINSVILLE, Va.) – Josh Berry said last week Martinsville Speedway could be a frustrating place after coming painfully close to winning there before. Now he has a reason to celebrate – 44,000 reasons to be exact.
Berry, driving for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR-Motorsports team, started from the pole, led every lap, and won both stages to take home a record-setting payday of $44,000 and the famous Grandfather Clock after dominating the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 on Saturday night.
Berry was able to pull away from a late restart and hold off Lee Pulliam and Timothy Peters who finished second and third, respectively.
“I learned a lot last year here at Martinsville,” Berry said. “We were fortunate enough to build a gap with the two racing behind us there at the end. This is a great day and I’m so happy to give Dale (Earnhardt) Jr., Kelly Earnhardt-Miller and everyone at JR Motorsports their first win in this prestigious race.”
Berry started from the pole and collected $2,000 from Clarence’s Steakhouse for winning the first and second stages of the race. He also collected lap leader bonus money from Doughtons Racing Products and the pole award from Martinsville Speedway to build up his record-setting payday.
The competition facing Berry for those prizes was not light. In total, 68 of the best NASCAR Late Model Stock Car racers in the Mid-Atlantic faced off with Berry for the chance at the prestigious prize of a win at Martinsville Speedway on a Saturday night.
“To win this race you have to beat the best of the best,” Berry said. “Any of the top-five drivers tonight could be driving on Sunday (in the NASCAR Cup Series). This field is full of talent and to win here against them is special.”
Pulliam won the Virginia Triple Crown bonus, edging Peyton Sellers to win the honor by pulling off a last-lap pass of Peters.
The Virginia Triple Crown is a three-race Late Model Stock Car series featuring events at South Boston Speedway, Langley Speedway and Martinsville Speedway. The Triple Crown paid $7,000 to the best average finish in those three events, with second-best average finish earning $2,000 and $1,000 to third-best.
“We had a hard battle tonight with Timothy Peters and we were racing for second place as Josh (Berry) had everyone covered tonight,” Pulliam said. “I want to thank South Boston, Langley and Martinsville Speedways for offering this award. This is the fifth time I’ve finish second in this race but taking home $15,000 is a good day for us.”
Bobby McCarty was fourth and Bubba Pollard finished fifth to give JR Motorsports a pair of top-five finishes. Sellers finished sixth with Justin T. Carroll, Kyle Dudley, Dustin Rumley and Kres VanDyke rounding out the top 10.
NOTE: Stuart’s Billy Martin Racing, considered a favorite with ace driver Mike Looney behind the wheel, suffered an unfortunate end to their race early in the event. Looney cut down a tire after suffering early damage to the right-front corner of his 87Va. Hopkins Lumber machine, leading to further suspension damage. The incident sent the fan-favorite team into the garage less than 75-laps into the 200-lap feature race.
Josh Berry (88) won the ValleyStar Credit Union 300 in dominant fashion on Saturday night at Martinsville Speedway, qualifying on pole and leading every lap to claim $44,000 in prize money. (Martinsville Speedway Photo)